A Bible Study In 1st Samuel
June 1, 2004

C. R. Oliver

You may watch this Newsletter in a video HERE.


June 1, 2004

A Bible Study In 1st Samuel

Cursory Comments:
Before going into a recapping of a Bible Study presented at the home of Bruce Gerhardt, Cleveland, Ohio, it is necessary to elucidate about the events leading up to this climactic experience, which involved two weeks of travel in Kentucky and Ohio. Having been drawn to a 3-day conference in Louisville with the intention of fellowshipping with Kim Freeborn of Bath, England, and his good friend and associate David Griffiths of Wales, it became evident the Lord had a much different perspective. Save taking away from the monthly message, only these comments must suffice: events outside of and in the days immediately following the conference clearly revealed the hand of God in using the convocation only as a drawing tool and having no other purpose. As a matter of fact, the events following were of such Divine direction as to offer a vivid contrast to the convocation which proved to be rather meaningless in import when compared to the outpourings outside its domain.

The contrast was made even greater because there were two conferences taking place simultaneously. While one was in a tent adjacent to an estate and was attended by about 30 persons, the other was housed in a 10,000 seat church auditorium and was convened as a gathering for ministers of a large denomination. Invitations from both meetings were proffered and both accepted. Aside from the differences in number, these similarities prevailed: both were for indoctrination of the attendees, both were highly structured, both lacked the presence and power of the Spirit (of course either group would call this being "judgmental." "Discerning of spirits" might be considered the same), both sold materials supporting their programs and both were arranged to promote "fellowship."

Although each accomplished its goals, it became apparent to the observer: there is little to be gained by attending conferences and conventions if one's aim is to be where the Spirit is in control. A great deliverance ministry, however, arises from their ranks: may the Lord deliver His People from such gross commercialism and from such programs of agenda. Oh God, bring us to the place where your people assemble to hear from You, and only assemble at Your command. When the Supernatural assembles, the Supernatural occurs. The meetings each night after these touted conferences were progenitored by the Spirit and resulted in fellowship leading to bonding in the Spirit. To God be the glory! At another time, written summaries of these events will be given in the newsletters.

The Gerhardt Gathering
[This was the final night of a solid week of gatherings in locations in Lawrenceburg, Ky., Dalton, Ohio, Youngstown, Ohio, and Cleveland, Ohio. The Bible Study was given by the Spirit to what I thought was only for this meeting of 30 or so gathered to hear; however, its truths are universal]

Scripture Texts:
I Samuel 7:3-6 The judgeship of Samuel
I Samuel 8:18 The result of leaving the path of God
I Samuel 10:17-27 Samuel's address to the people about rejecting God
I Samuel 12:11 The true Judges of Israel
I Samuel 12:20-21 Empty Things I Samuel 12:25 and 13:13 and 15:9 and 28:18 The short distance between
I Kings 22:38-39

From these Scriptures much can be gleaned; foremost, however, is the close parallel between the church of today and the kingship of Saul. Again the Old Testament becomes the picture book for the New Testament. In truth, what began with anointing and the favor of God ended in spiritism and an attempt to re-dig the wells of sources long dead. This is the sad result of that which began at Pentecost in purity and has denigrated to the establishment of kingdoms ruled by men and women and supported by an errant people. (Similar to the time when judges were established by the sovereignty of God and later replaced by people mandated Kings)

After Pentecost, and the addition of thousands, the body met together to pray [directed by the Spirit], to praise [bursting forth of songs and scripture from the many participants], to bear testimony [shared from hearts overflowing in the wonderful witness of what God had done in their midst that week or interim], to utter words of knowledge and wisdom [free flowing from apostles and people], to fellowship in communion [based only on that established in II Corinthians 1:19-24], to speak in tongues with interpretation [lovingly mentored through those established in the faith to those who might "happen" into the meetings],to give offerings [directed by the Spirit to needs and missions He determined], for discerning of spirits [and all the grace gifts, even those ending life such as Ananias and Sapphira] ,for hearing from missionaries [Paul and others], for sharing of meals and communing with each other. This is the meaning of "the church," not a sermon and a program of scheduled events. (Please try to find in scripture any evidence of pastoral duties leading to a sermon.) The Lord's Day has become something it was never intended to be, and people are dispossessed from knowing the true, wondrous power found in the ingathering of the saints. (Ezekiel 45:9 thus says the Lord God: ENOUGH, O princes of Israel! Remove violence and plundering, execute justice and righteousness AND stop dispossessing My People, says the Lord God.) Since the Lord is the possession of His People, anything, program, or methodology which separates them from Him is error. When the people of God come to the realization of their dispossession, there will be some changes of gigantic proportion to the modern church scene. (Grant this truth: currently the dispossessed will defend to the death their method of worship rather than change...the same dispossessed spirits that stoned Stephen, alas, are in the church of today.)

Samuel's initial words were THE words greatly needed for today's congregations. Today, there are few Samuel's (judges have been replaced by Kings...but not for long...God is re-establishing Spiritual Judges who will be heard and whose pronouncements will bring action upon the earth) and there are few audiences where they may be heard.

"If you return to the Lord with all your hearts, then put away the foreign gods and the Ashtoreths from among, and prepare your hearts for the Lord and serve HIM only; He will deliver you..." Instead of hearing and doing, his audience resisted him. It is no wonder that audiences today do the same.

When the arm of defense raises its fist today, it usually is in response to preserving a god held dear by a dispossessed people; their "darling sins." These are in plural form, meaning the sum of all things held as treasure other than the Living God. Ashtoreths are synonymous to "increase, becoming rich" and again the electorate is nailed. The vast difference between Samuel's day and our own is they drew water and poured it before the Lord as a symbol they were abandoning their sins and never taking them up again ( as water is irretrievable once poured upon the earth). Samuel judged because he had a legitimate right to do so...God is bringing back judges who will be like Samuel (given to God, anointed for office, speaking only the Word of the Lord without agenda).

Having solemnly forewarned the people of the terrible price they must pay in substituting God's plan with their own, he laid before them the end result, even before the beginning took place, "You will cry out in that day because of your king whom you have chosen for yourselves and the Lord will not hear you in that day (I Sam 8:18)." This very hour, the church finds itself searching for validity, but God does not hear as long as people continue to support it! (God speaks from a position of Holiness, the church must then be silent.)

The cry of the people in Samuel's day is exactly the same as the defense of "churchism" and "charismatica" today (paraphrased..."that we may be like all others in Christendom and that our pastors and approved leaders may judge us and go out before us and fight our battles.") They spoke from a majority position.

Samuel found that "majority" rule never leads to theocracy.

"But you have rejected your God, who Himself saved you out of all your adversities and your tribulations; and you have said to Him, "NO, but set rulers over us." They were told to present themselves by tribes and clans. Therefore the church must present thenselves before the Lord by denominations, fellowships, conventions and associations.

Samuel then familiarized them with the "behavior of royalty." Is it not time to define the model of behavior for "church leadership." My, My, the standardized model of administrative behavior odiously reminds us of what the prophet reduced to a book and laid before the Lord.

I Samuel 12:11 And the Lord sent Jerubbaal, Bedan, Jephthat, and Samuel, and delivered you out of the hand of your enemies on every side, and you dwelt in safety. Once...the Lord your God was your king (...now the five fold ministry rules)!

Samuel's words did not fall to the ground in I Sam. 12:23, "Moreover, as for me, far be it from me that I should sin against the Lord in ceasing to pray for you (the judges job); but I will teach you the good and the right way (the judges job) ONLY FEAR THE LORD, and serve HIM in truth with all your heart; for consider what great things He has done for you. But if you still do wickedly, you shall be swept away, both you and your King." (This is a Sealed judgment which cannot be controlled by the earthly judge.) Where, O' Church, is the fear of the Lord...Where is the judge who prays? The judge who teaches good and the right way?

Short is the distance between the warning of chapter twelve and the word to Israel's leadership, "You have not kept the commandment of the Lord your God."

Saul vacillated between offering sacrifices without Samuel to falling under the power of Samuel's anointing and prophesying. He defended his arbitrary moves regarding Agag and argued that indeed he had kept the command of God. It is not difficult to associate his behavior with that of the modern church movement. Sometimes falling under great anointing and then sometimes making allowance for the populace will always bring a disastrous result. Turning aside from the Lord will cause the pursuit of "empty things (I Sam .12:21)." While halls are full to running over, empty things comprise the agenda for today's masses. When man's administration is the sole determination between whether the constituents fall under the anointing or take the best spoils...judgment looms!

I Sam . 15:9 "but Saul and the people spared...and were unwilling ...." (notice the congruence between Saul and the people and that they were both unwilling. Such congruence is apparent between clergy and people—"and the people love it so.")

"The Lord sent you on a mission." "Why then did you not obey the voice of the Lord?"

In the face of stark reality, Saul continued to wiggle and chose to engage Samuel in meaningless semantics (still the chosen method), which elicited the profound passage found in I Sam. 15:22-23. True to his pledge to present the truth in the face of unpopular surroundings, Samuel laid the foundation for future judgment, "Has the Lord as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the Lord.?"

What resulted in Saul is the result found in the modern church community, a little repentance and a lot of blabbering about losing face, needing the prophet's support, and just "one more chance." Samuel answered, "For the Lord does not see as man sees; for man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart (I Sam. 16:7)" This pronouncement was preceded by "make yourselves HOLY." Any person who will rip away the façade of organized religion and peer through the smoke screen will find man, not God.

I Samuel 28:18 declares the end result of continued erosion spiritually. "And when Saul inquired of the Lord, the Lord did not answer him, either by dreams or by Urim or by the prophets." So, he sought God in other places (convocations, conventions, and another church, TBN, tape and video ministries, fellowships, spiritism, the witch at En Dor). The day has already come when none of these will suffice. Nothing takes the place of good ole fashioned deep down soul delivering repentance, seeking the face of God, not just His hand.

Digging the wells of past spiritual movements is a wonderful study in how God has answered the souls who sought his face, but they hold no key to what is needed today. The dictionary that most work from has a different definition of ministry, revival, fellowship and brideship than the ones God has ordained. We need God's dictionary. The call for God to redefine for all His people the true meanings of all these terms should be the desire of every heart. Our prayer should be: "Lord help us see as you see, Help us to restore your definitions and cause our hearts to hear again from You."

The church today has inherited its definition from theological schools and paid clergy. It languishes without the voice of the Lord and nears destruction at the time it boasts its greatest victories. Reviewing its books reveals mega ministry and wealth beyond spectra, but reviewing its heart...a dearth that approaches Middle Age proportion. Deceived with a deception born of compromise and rooted in ignominy, the church resembles Ahaz in the time of Elijah. Ahaz, the son of Omri, inherited a kingdom of man's design. He struggled to rule as those before him and compromised his authority at the feet of Jezebel. His end was predictable, death with dogs and harlots while within view of ivory palaces and empire. The church boasts of its edifices while watching its life blood pour out surrounded by those who will swallow anything and those who will sell themselves for the highest dollar.

Do not add this message to the great list of prophecies and the myriad works of those predicting doom, despair, misery and woe...it goes beyond that. They weep for the Rome that burns, I weep for the daughter of My People.

Until Next month,

Dr. Cosby R. Oliver, PhD.


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